The Traveller by Ralph Gräf

Photography has escorted me through my whole adulthood. It is my medium to act out those of my creative talents that I have to neglect at my daily work as a cell biologist.

Photography has escorted me through my whole adulthood. It is my medium to act out those of my creative talents that I have to neglect at my daily work as a cell biologist.

I am very open-minded with my photographic themes. I prefer available light and clearly composed pictures with a discreetly arranged motive. I want to stimulate the imagination of the viewer and to tell a story that emotionally touches him, since sensing emotions is the prerequisite to keep pictures sticking in the viewer’s mind. With regard to image processing I usually perform some editing on colors, contrasts and retouch disturbing elements. I like to use softeners or cross filters to create a dreamy, surreal mood. Finally, processing should support the expression of the picture and help to mediate the intended mood to the viewer. I use digital SLR and analog medium format cameras with a wide range of lenses ranging from extreme wide-angle to telephoto and plastic lenses, and almost always a tripod. Yet, to me the type of camera used to take the picture is usually unimportant. The most important factor is always found behind the viewfinder. It is difficult to state names of other artists, who have inspired me, since there are many. You may get inspirations by any picture you are watching. I try not not copy somebodies style but to find and create an own one. Among my favorite photographers are Gregory Crewdson, Nadav Kander, Josef Hoflehner, Andreas Gursky and Petr Lovigin, just to name a few. I prefer working with a series concept in mind that makes the photos more suitable for exhibitions and photo books.

The Traveller

My so far most successful series ”The Traveller“ started in March 2010 with on a tour with friends  when we found the old brown suitcase in a bunch of bulk waste on the street. This old suitcase and the end-of-time-feeling of the partially abandoned village where we found the suitcase fueled my imaginations of the figure of a traveller in time, who finds himself in various, sometimes odd situations. In order so serve as a connecting element in a series of pictures the traveller required a high recognition value, especially since he often appears only as a small eye-catcher. Thus I have created the archetypal and nostalgic figure of a man wearing a suit and a hat, who carries a suitcase and an umbrella. For the sake of convenience, the protagonist of the series is myself, since this model is always available. Thus, all pictures were taken using an interval self-timer. I started the series with settings in the context of travel and traffic. Yet, soon I broadened the scope of the term ”travel“ to being on the way in unusual places or through passed times. The fact that my traveller usually finds himself somehow out of place in his surrounding creates suspense. Since he always retains his composure even in bizarre situations, the picture often acquire a funny aspect that keeps the photos sticking in the mind of the viewer. Although sometimes appearing only as a small person ”The Traveller“ is always the eye-catcher of the photo and enhances the attention of the viewer for the scenery he is acting in. The individual images of the series are no consecutive sequence. Each image should tell its own story and evoke different emotions in the viewer. Between 2010 and 2013 I exhibited pictures of this series in seven well acclaimed exhibitions in Berlin, Potsdam, Munich and Neubrandenburg. At the 4th Kunstallee Potsdam (an arts fair) from August 19th till 21st, 2011, I won the Arts Price in an election of the approximately 4000 visitors. Several photos won prices in national and international photo contests. The biggest success was a Gold Medal of Excellence for ”In The Cold“ at one of the biggest international photo contests, the Trierenberg Super Circuit 2011. [Official Website]

Several other photos of my portfolio were also awarded in national and international contests such as DVF contests and Al-Thani Award. This year my photo ”In The Old Hall“ was shortlisted  in the category architecture of the Sony World Photography Award 2013.

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